No means no… doesn’t it?
Public perceptions of the language used in the cross-examination of an alleged rape victim.
This paper focuses on the experience an alleged rape victim must endure whilst undergoing a cross-examination by a defence lawyer with the courtroom. It further explores the notion of the questioning strategies adopted by defence lawyers are harsh and unnecessary, by collecting public perceptions of courtroom discourse through a self-completion questionnaire. There has been minimal research into the public’s perceptions of the language used in cross-examination and therefore, this study aimed to expand on this. The research hypothesised that the majority of participants disagreed with the level of questioning within the cross-examination and considered the experience unnecessarily interrogative and unpleasant towards the alleged victim. Through the random sampling of 77 members of the public, aged 18 and older, the answers obtained from the questionnaire were used to identify specific language choices alongside the quantitative data collected through discourse analysis. The research findings supported the hypothesis in that the majority of participants disagreed with the level of interrogation and the style of questioning used by the defence lawyer towards the alleged rape victim. In conclusion, it was explained that the findings from this research can further encourage a change in the style of language used in the cross-examination of alleged victims and contribute to further re-analysis of such techniques used within a courtroom